Baffling Why Poor Economy Didn't Help Democrats -- 11/06/2002 CyberAlert
Blaming Democratic Losses on Not Being Liberal Enough
3. Warning Bush to Not Pursue Conservative Agenda
4. What "Worries" You Most About GOP Senate Takeover? Highlighting "Republican Voter Suppression Tactics"
5. Bill and Hillary "Big Winners"
"Depressing" How Little Bush Doing to Fight Terrorism
CBS: "Moderate" Dems vs. "Ultra-Conservative" Republicans
Townsend Loss "Frightening"
Mondale Gets Celebrity Help
Another Round of "Ratherisms"
Editor's Note: The lack of exit polling data and the delay beyond prime time EST of definitive numbers for many races, inhibited trend analysis from TV journalists and pundits on election night, making way for rather dry and straight-forward coverage of returns. But there were some exceptions in the coverage from the cable networks all night and the 10pm EST hour from ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as the 10pm PST/1am EST hours from ABC and NBC. Washington, DC's CBS affiliate did not carry the 10pm PST/1am EST hour from CBS News and significant portions of the 10pm EST hours on the broadcast networks were interrupted by local coverage.
Election Night Theme #1: Baffled by why the poor economy didn't help Democrats more and hurt Republicans more. Just two examples of this common befuddlement:
-- ABC's Claire Shipman, recounting the findings of an ABC News telephone poll, during that network's 10pm EST hour:
-- NBC's Tom Brokaw to Dick Gephardt during the 10pm EST hour: "Congressman, a lot of Democrats were surprised that your party was not able to take more advantage of voter concern with education and in the economy and health care issues. In fact, this could be a historic election for the Republicans -- maybe for only the third time since the Civil war they are able to gain seats while holding the White House."
Election Night Theme #2: Blaming Democratic losses on their candidates not being aggressively liberal enough instead of crediting Republican policy positions for propelling their victories.
-- During ABC's 10pm EST hour, Claire Shipman recounted how an ABC poll of likely voters found that most who thought the economy was the most important issue voted for Democrats and most of those who thought Iraq was most important voted for Republicans. Shipman then suggested: "Put them together, you end up with a very closely matched race and I would bet, Peter, there are going to be a lot of people wondering whether the Democrats should have pushed harder on both of those issues against President Bush."
Probably "a lot of people" inside of ABC News.
-- Tom Brokaw to Rush Limbaugh during NBC's 10pm EST hour: "But weren't you surprised, given what the voters were saying about their concerns about the economy and health care and education, that the Democrats didn't even make a run at capitalizing on that, to say nothing of corporate scandals with the resignation tonight of Harvey Pitt?"
Limbaugh replied that Democrats tried that but they were not victorious because they win by demonizing a conservative, as they did with Newt Gingrich, but they couldn't demonize Bush.
-- Late in the 10pm EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Chris Matthews pursued former Senator Bob Kerrey: "Do you think the Democratic Party has made a mistake pulling back from those grand initiatives like health care?"
-- During ABC's 1am EST hour, Peter Jennings displayed a marked contrast in approaches to RNC Chairman Marc Racicot and Democratic Senatorial Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray.
Talking to Racicot, Jennings stayed on process questions as he wondered if control of the Senate would come down to Louisiana, asked what it is like not to have exit poll data and whose bases Racicot thought were most energized.
A bit later, however, with Murray, Jennings scolded: "The knock on the Democrats tonight is that there was no consistent message, there were so many messages, and moreover you were intimidated by the President and you wouldn't speak out on the economy, and you wouldn't speak out on the war."
Election Night Theme #3: Warning it would be unwise for President Bush to pursue a conservative agenda.
I saw this expressed by some non-journalists and MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught examples from CNN's Jeff Greenfield and MSNBC election night anchor Chris Matthews, but I suspect this is an emerging theme we'll be hearing quite often.
-- A bit before 2am EST, after it was clear that Republicans will take control of the Senate, Greenfield cautioned on CNN: "His one problem is going to be that the Republican base, movement conservatives, are now going to say to him, 'You've got the power, now use it, now get the agenda done.' And they may not want that agenda pushed quite as hard as the movement conservatives do."
-- MSNBC's Matthews to Bob Kerrey shortly before 11pm EST: "But do you think there's a danger of hubris? If he does very well and he grabs the United States Senate tonight, the President, for his party, and he grabs a larger percentage of control in the U.S. House of Representatives with his brother winning in Florida, is there a chance, in fact, a likelihood, that he might get a little bit overzealous about his power and maybe draw us into a war with greater alacrity than he should?"
-- Dan Rather during CBS's 10pm EST hour, as transcribed by MRC analyst Patrick Gregory: "States to watch -- of these seven, the Democrats nearly have to win five in order to hold on to control of the Senate. That would be Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, and Texas. Those are the seven to watch. If the Democrats don't get five of those, they'll lose control of the Senate, President Bush and his party will have control of the White House, the Senate, the Congress, and the Supreme Court."
-- Tom Brokaw to Jeb Bush during NBC's 10pm EST hour: "Governor, the Florida voters, like voters across the country were saying in all the polls that I saw that they were very concerned about the American economy, about health care, about education. Which of those domestic issues do you think your brother should concentrate on, and how, in the next couple years?"
-- Peter Jennings to Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray during ABC's 1am EST/10pm PST hour: "Senator from your perspective, ie the Democratic perspective, if the Republicans do end up with control of the Senate, what would worry you most?"
-- Michel Martin, a regular now on This Week, during a discussion in the 1am EST hour about why Kathleen Kennedy Townsend lost in Maryland: "I think it's one of those races that people are going to be writing PHD dissertations about, because Maryland as it often does, it's on the Mason Dixon line, it's kind of north it's very northern, south it's very southern, and it's one of these places that is actually a microcosm of everything in the country, they've got poultry farmers and they've got everything else. This was the kind of place that, we talked to the -- you talked to the Republican Chairman earlier who talked about the outreach to so-called non-traditional constituencies. Maryland could be considered an example of that, putting the Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party is in fact Bob Ehrlich's running mate, and he is an African American, incidentally he's also Mike Tyson's sister-in-law, brother-in-law rather.
Nothing like slinging out unsubstantiated allegations.
(In my opinion, anyone stupid enough to be fooled by the leaflets shouldn't be voting anyway.)
In checking how to spell Martin's last name, I came across her bio with a photo of her, so if she doesn't sound familiar to you: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/Nightline/nl_martin_bio.html
-- Brokaw at the very end of NBC's 1am EST hour: "Wherever I went across the country, Republicans and Democrats alike, however ardent they were about their party line, 'I'm so fed up with the bickering, I'm so fed with these negative ads.' Now we know that they move people, but I think the message that is being set here, in that we have a kind of 50-50 nation, is get together. Figure out how we're going to get through this more complex time that we're all dealing with."
-- Matthews, on MSNBC at 8:10pm EST, to Donna Brazille: "Is this the power of Bill Clinton? I think one of the big winners tonight, as you watch the election returns work their way in tonight, is Bill and Hillary Clinton. Bill has become something of a political old-style boss in New York moving Andrew Cuomo out of the race, Carl McCall into the nomination, doing very well with that campaign, apparently getting Torricelli out of the race, getting Fritz Mondale to take the place of the deceased Paul Wellstone. Is 'Big Bill' the boss of the Democratic Party now, Donna?"
McCall and Mondale lost.
-- Matthews to former Clinton aide and successful congressional candidate Rahm Emmanuel at about 9:52pm EST: "Hey, Rahm, let's talk about this, let's talk about something really fascinating, the personal role being played in American politics by former President Clinton. It seems to me that he has had his hand in some very effective political maneuvering in terms of, let's go to, getting Fritz Mondale to run as the Democratic candidate for Senate when Paul Wellstone was killed, to help move out Torricelli, to move in Frank Lautenberg, and he's been declared the winner tonight, or he's the projected winner. To move Andrew Cuomo out and Carl McCall in, and maybe that's going to be a closer race than we thought. He seems like he's almost a standard old school political boss, a real power behind the scenes. How do you see him? I mean, you talk to him."
It's "depressing" to Bill Maher, ex-host of ABC's cancelled Politically Incorrect, that President Bush is "so popular when he has really done so little" to fight terrorism, Maher contended on CNN.
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down this exchange with Larry King from about 12:53am EDT:
CBS's extremist labeling policy: Democratic women gubernatorial candidates are "moderates" battling to overcome "ultra-conservative" opponents and Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller is not just "conservative," he's "very, very conservative."
During a Tuesday CBS Evening News look at the large number of women running for Governor, Lesley Stahl asserted: "In Republican states, like Kansas, Arizona and Alaska, moderate, Democratic, pro-choice women hope to win by dominating the women's vote against ultra-conservatives."
And just who are these "ultra-conservatives"? In Kansas it was state treasurer Tim Shallenburger, in Arizona, former Congressman Matt Salmon, and in Alaska, Senator Frank Murkowski.
A few hours later, during CBS's 10pm EST hour of election coverage, Bob Schieffer opined about the victory for Republican Saxby Chambliss over incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland in Georgia: "I think what this race really boiled down to, Dan, was George Bush's popularity. Max Cleland was a very popular figure in Georgia, he'd been in public office down there for a long time, he was the Secretary of State before he served in the Senate, but George Bush is the most popular politician these days in Georgia, even more popular than the state's other Senator, Zell Miller, who's very very conservative. Cleland was not as conservative as Miller."
The 2001 rating for Democrat Zell Miller from the American Conservative Union: 60 percent, which makes him a conservative-leaning centrist. You can see his ACU rating at: http://www.acuratings.com/acu_doc.cgi?ACT=3&STATE=GA&YEAR=2001
Also earning a 60 percent in 2001 from the ACU: Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, someone not even Schieffer could confuse with a conservative.
Miller earned a 35 percent rating in 2001 from the very liberal Americans for Democratic Action, the same as Maine Republican Susan Collins whom the media often hold up as an example of a rare Republican moderate. For the latest ADA ratings: http://adaction.org/Senate2001fullVR.pdf
As noted in Monday's CyberAlert, on Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN Time magazine's Margaret Carlson feared Republicans would retain control of the House: "The shift in the consumer confidence, that drop, made me think that, you know, people would be sour going into the booth and it might work for Democrats but I'm afraid that the Republicans maintain a five seat lead."
On Tuesday's The View, the ABC daytime talk show created by Barbara Walters, former NBC News reporter Star Jones, who is one of the panelists on the program, told guest George Stephanopoulos: "Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. You always hear the Kennedy mystique down in Maryland, for Lieutenant Governor. This is frightening. She may not get it."
It's "frightening" that a Kennedy might lose? Well, since she did lose Jones must be having a scary day.
For a look at The View crew: http://abc.abcnews.go.com/theview/hosts/hosts.html
Tuesday's Good Morning America, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, showed a quick clip of her with a soundbite, but failed to inform viewers of her anti-American hatred. FNC's Brit Hume, however, reminded viewers of his program of her earlier left-wing rant.
During a November 5 Good Morning America story on Mondale's campaign schedule the day before, John Cochran noted: "Noon, Mondale gets celebrity help from actress Jessica Lange."
Tuesday's Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported: "At the get-out-the-vote rally with other DFL candidates and about 1,000 supporters, actress Jessica Lange, a Minnesota native, criticized Coleman as a candidate who would 'just be a voice for the administration.'
That story is online at: http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/3410299.html
For a Reuters photo of Mondale with Lange after the rally: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/021105/161/2lz8w.html
Lange made her anti-Bush and anti-American remarks at a press conference before a film festival in Spain in late September. The syndicated show Inside Edition later ran these soundbites from her:
For a full rundown of stories about her comments, both in Europe and the U.S., and a RealPLayer video clip of what Inside Edition showed, see the October 7 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021007.asp#5
> Opening the November 5 CBS Evening News: "CBS News has assembled an experienced team of correspondents to bring you the returns and analysis tonight. And we could be in for a long night with the Senate battle as tight as a botox smile."
> During 9pm EST two minute update before Judging Amy.
> During CBS's EST/CST prime time hour at 10pm EST:
-- "Well Bob certainly as recently as a week or ten days ago, the Republicans would have considered this kind of win in Georgia as a situation somewhat like the cat that finds a mouse in the milk: unexpected but very much appreciated."
-- "Now, we'll be back with more of our election coverage, and it's beginning to get exciting as the Democrats' fingernails are beginning to sweat now, so stick in here with us, we'll have more after this break."
-- "If, Bob, if it turns out that Republicans regain control of the Senate, and thus President Bush has the White House, both houses of Congress, and a very substantial majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, would or would it not be too strong to say that this night has been the 'Bushification' of America?" Schieffer gave in: "You could say that."
> Depending on what happens on the morning shows, late this afternoon I may do another CyberAlert on what evaluations are espoused on them.